Steven V. Ley
Steven Victor Ley FRS is the BP Professor of Organic Chemistry
BP Professor of Organic Chemistry
The BP Professorship of Organic Chemistry is one of the senior professorships at the University of Cambridge.Founded in 1702 by the university as simply 'Professor of Chemistry', it was retitled as the Professorship of Organic Chemistry in 1943, and in 1991 was renamed after a benefaction from the...

 at the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, and is a Fellow of Trinity College
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

. He was President of the Royal Society of Chemistry
Royal Society of Chemistry
The Royal Society of Chemistry is a learned society in the United Kingdom with the goal of "advancing the chemical sciences." It was formed in 1980 from the merger of the Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Faraday Society and the Society for Analytical Chemistry with a new...

 (2000–2002) and was made a CBE in January 2002. In 2011, he was included by The Times in the list of the “100 most important people in British science”.

His main research field is the total synthesis
Total synthesis
In organic chemistry, a total synthesis is, in principle, the complete chemical synthesis of complex organic molecules from simpler pieces, usually without the aid of biological processes. In practice, these simpler pieces are commercially available in bulk and semi-bulk quantities, and are often...

 of biomolecule
A biomolecule is any molecule that is produced by a living organism, including large polymeric molecules such as proteins, polysaccharides, lipids, and nucleic acids as well as small molecules such as primary metabolites, secondary metabolites, and natural products...

s. His group has published extensively on this topic, and has completed the synthesis of more than 130 natural target compounds, with notable examples including indanamycin, routiennocin, avermectin B1a, okadaic acid, spongistatin, thapsigargin
Thapsigargin is non-competitive inhibitor of a class of enzymes known by the acronym SERCA, which stands for sarco / endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase. Structurally, thapsigargin is classified as a sesquiterpene lactone, and is extracted from a plant, Thapsia garganica. It is a tumor promoter in...

, epothilone A
The epothilones are a new class of cancer drugs. Like taxanes, they prevent cancer cells from dividing by interfering with tubulin, but in early trials epithilones have better efficacy and milder adverse effects than taxanes....

, antascomicin B, bengazole A and rapamycin. His total synthesis of azadirachtin
Azadirachtin, a chemical compound belonging to the limonoid group, is a secondary metabolite present in neem seeds. It is a highly oxidized tetranortriterpenoid which boasts a plethora of oxygen functionality, comprising an enol ether, acetal, hemiacetal, and tetra-substituted oxirane as well as a...

, completed in 2007, is widely regarded as one of the major landmarks in total synthesis. In the course of this work, he has also made substantial advances in many areas of organic chemistry, including the development of new catalysts, protecting group
Protecting group
A protecting group or protective group is introduced into a molecule by chemical modification of a functional group in order to obtain chemoselectivity in a subsequent chemical reaction...

s and reagent
A reagent is a "substance or compound that is added to a system in order to bring about a chemical reaction, or added to see if a reaction occurs." Although the terms reactant and reagent are often used interchangeably, a reactant is less specifically a "substance that is consumed in the course of...

s. He is one of the inventors of TPAP, a widely employed oxidizing reagent. He has also pioneered the use of immobilized reagents and flow techniques in multi-step organic synthesis. This work now incorporates flow chemistry
Flow chemistry
In flow chemistry, a chemical reaction is run in a continuously flowing stream rather than in batch production. In other words, pumps move fluid into a tube, and where tubes join one another, the fluids contact one another. If these fluids are reactive, a reaction takes place...

 for multistep organic synthesis applications.

Steve Ley's work of over 730 papers has been recognised by about 40 major prizes and awards, the most recent of which are:
  • 2011 Royal Medal (Royal Society).
  • 2010 Paracelsus Prize (Swiss Chemical Society).
  • 2009 Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry
  • 2009 Heinrich Wieland Prize awarded for outstanding achievements in the synthesis of key natural products (Boehringer Ingelheim)
  • 2008 High Throughput Drug Discovery Methodologies Award (The Royal Society of Chemistry)
  • 2008 Prous Institute-Overton and Meyer Award for New Technologies in Drug Discovery (European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry)
  • 2008 Hans Herloff Inhoffen Medal, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, Germany
  • 2007 SCI Innovation Award
  • 2007 Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (ACS)
  • 2006 The Nagoya Gold Medal (Banyu Life Science Foundation International, Japan)
  • 2006 Robert Robinson Award and Medal (Royal Society of Chemistry)
  • 2005 The Yamada-Koga Prize (Japan)
  • 2004 The Messel Medal Lecture (The Society of Chemical Industry)
  • 2004 Innovation of the Year Award: Jointly with AstraZeneca, Avecia and Syngenta (Chemical Industries Association)
  • 2004 iChemE Award for Innovation in Applied Catalysis. (The iAc Award)
  • 2004 Teamwork in Innovation Award (The Royal Society of Chemistry)
  • 2004 Alexander-von-Humboldt Award (Germany)
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